The running back position, the bane of our Fantasy Football existence. The 2017 Running Back Rankings are the most challenging of any position to rank each year so everyone has a theory these days. Zero RB, Studs and Duds and throwing darts at names while blindfolded all provide a full spectrum of mixed results. In standard scoring, just eleven running backs finished in the top forty-five in 2016. Are you looking for your darts yet?
The So-Called Fantasy Experts staff rankings are relative chalk up to 11-12 range. DeMarco Murray is the only outlier, and even then it’s only slightly. RB2 territory looks a lot like what happens when you’re in your 30’s as nothing resembles what you had envisioned and good luck finding someone to agree with you on anything.
Marshawn Lynch, Joe Mixon, Tevin Coleman and Ameer Abdullah have the widest range of opinions in the Top 30. What do these players have in common you ask? Those four all offer your team immense upside in addition to more red flags than your worst ex.
The real fun begins when the Honorable David Gonos, Michael Tomlin, Mark Strausberg and myself rank Eddie Lacy, C.J. Anderson, Latavius Murray and Jamaal Williams. The NFL preseason will be here in no time and some questions will be answered, just not the ones related to RBs.
I’ve narrowed down my list of wobbly dart target favorites in my 2017 running back rankings. My RB2 dream team consists of Todd Gurley, Isaiah Crowell, Joe Mixon, Mike Gillislee, Mark Ingram and Dalvin Cook. Starting my roster with two studs at WR means using any of those as my RB1 with the goal of getting two of them as my 1A and 1B combination.
In PPR formats I’ll be focused on sniping underappreciated guys like Ingram, Danny Woodhead, Ameer Abdullah, Ty Montgomery, Bilal Powell, C.J. Prosise, DeAndre Washington and Alvin Kamara.
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A productive running back in Fantasy Football is very similar to being a good parent. It’s simply about showing up and magically the rest simply takes care of itself. Obviously only part of this is accurate as it takes more than just opportunity to be a productive Fantasy running back. That said, the opportunity is the first step and thus the most important variable when throwing darts in the later rounds.
There are a number of easy ways to use the 2016 season to our advantage when looking for running backs who may have more than the average amount of opportunity.
Most Offensive Plays
The teams below ran the most offensive plays in 2016 and the expectation is there for them to repeat in 2017.
- New Orleans Saints – Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, and Alvin Kamara
- Arizona Cardinals – David Johnson handcuff anyone?
- Philadelphia Eagles – Darren Sproles is my preference here but Wendell Smallwood is worth a flier
- Baltimore Ravens – Danny Woodhead is old but he’ll be on the field quite a bit when healthy
- Houston Texans – A shame D’Onta Foreman is a knucklehead although I’m still not recommending Alfred Blue
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Doug Martin, Jeremy McNichols and don’t sleep on Charles Sims in PPR
- New England Patriots – I’ll take all the Mike Gillislee you have please
- Carolina Panthers – With plenty of Christian McCaffrey doubters out there I’ll gladly take him in PPR
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette is a justified 1st round pick in Fantasy drafts
- Cincinnati Bengals – Jeremy Hill stinks, Giovanni Bernard is hurt and Joe Mixon is the real deal
Percentage of Drives Resulting in an Offensive Score
As with the offensive plays above, the below teams had the highest percentage of drives resulting in a score.
- Atlanta Falcons – I’m a huge Devonta Freeman fan but it’s a must to grab Tevin Coleman later
- New Orleans Saints – See above
- Dallas Cowboys – Ezekiel Elliot possible suspension means Darren McFadden should be drafted
- Green Bay Packers – Carlos Hyde rumors have begun but Jamaal Williams is a name to target
- Washington Redskins – I’m not huge on Samaje Perine or Fat Rob Kelly but, here we are
- New England Patriots – Have I mentioned Mike Gillislee?
- Detroit Lions – You don’t want to take a shot on Ameer Abdullah because … why?
- Indianapolis Colts – Frank Gore is a White Walker, I’m convinced
- Oakland Raiders – Marshawn Lynch wasn’t very good the last time he played, why will he be productive now?
- Pittsburgh Steelers – James Connor is average at best but 20 carries is 20 carries (Note to college students: Don’t ever let anyone convince you that “$20 is $20.”)
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